Tag Archives: motherhood

Procrastination for Dummies

tidy-closet-2Procrastination gets a bad rap but it must be popular because it’s got its own Wikipedia entry. I read somewhere (while I was procrastinating) that a good way to get people to read your blog is to give them tips on how to do something. I wracked my brains on what I could offer and was only able to come up with this.

How To Procrastinate:

1. Surf the net and bump into some very cool blogs. Try Wayne Hodgins’ Off Course On Target: Where unexpected paths lead to great discoveries. The title alone says it all. Topics range from Milk Carton Design to Earth Without People to the Snowflake Effect to Translation Robots. Fascinating stuff. Especially when you’ve got a novel to write.

2. Eat all the chocolate in the house. Start with the Halloween candy you confiscated from your kids until they forgot about it. The cherry filled numbers brought over at Christmas which no one will eat. The Toll House chocolate chips which you bought for the cookies you never got around to making.

3. Do the laundry. Forget to sort out the whites from the brights and spend the rest of the day bleaching.

4. Stress out that your daughter is still having trouble with her knife and fork and buy a book about dyspraxia. Read it and discover that actually she is just lazy.

5. Eat a third lunch.

A modest start but it should get you through the day. Good luck.

Photo above by chrissthegirl (flickr)

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School Run

BennCapon

BennCapon

I’m up again at an ungodly hour. Even if I get very little writing done my sanctimonious level is high enough to choke a frog.

The problem with getting up early though is that by the time I get everyone else up I’m so caffeinated I’m a little scary. The glee I take in tossing everyone from their warm covers is not attractive.

It’s a full hour and a half from the time I get the kids up to when I push them into their classrooms. They don’t have school buses in London so the onus of getting your children to school falls on you. And so the mornings are a marathon.

Get out of bed, now, now, NOW. Eat, don’t whack your sister, leave your brother alone, eat, drink your milk. Aren’t you dressed yet? Brush your teeth, brush your hair. Stop teasing your brother. I don’t care if he started it….Get your coat on, and your gloves, and your scarves. Shoot me. Book bag, violin, swim bag, water bottles. Shoot me again. Get in the car, get in the car, will you get in the CAR! Oh, no, the car is covered in ice. Get the spatula. It’s in the kitchen. Scrape. Scrape. Great, the defrost not working. I can just see if I lean down like this…. Where did that car come from….Oh, there’s the bell, get out of the car, get out of the car, will you get out of the CAR! Hurry hurry. Hi! Hi! Great weekend. Yes, you too. Smile, smile to other mothers, ha ha ha ha ha, threats muttered under breath to kids. Get in the classroom, get in the classroom, will you get in the… And they’re gone.

A sigh of relief.

Free.

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Breastfeeding

By Crispita

By Crispita

All this Facebook ruckus reminds me of my breastfeeding days. When I took a breastfeeding course before the birth of my daughter, I spent most of the time chortling in the back row. The idea that I would ever put a babe to my half-pint breasts was ludicrous. My husband, I’m afraid to say, found it particularly funny. But when I finally did give birth and offered my virgin nipples to my daughter, I wasn’t laughing. And poor Lara squealed with frustration and hunger.

I tried the experts but they all seemed to have memorized the same mantra: drink more liquids and rest. Well, I was drinking enough liquids to flood London Central and hadn’t budged from the couch in so long I had begun color-coordinating my clothes with it.

I had hoped to breast feed for about twelve months (any longer and I worried the kid would walk up to me, grab a breast with a sticky hand and flip it into her mouth like a petrol pump). But I didn’t last past four. The day I finally gave up and switched to bottles, Lara fairly had a party to celebrate.

So when I gave birth to Ben three years later in Singapore (my husband was on sabbatical) I wasn’t in the most optimistic of moods. But I hadn’t bargained on the Chinese and their reliance on cuisine for disaster remedy. The Chinese are real apothecaries when it comes to ingredients, most of which you can either get fresh at the markets or dried and curled obscenely in large clear jars at the Chinese medicine stores. Cooking becomes prescribing. Clogged arteries? Try a tablespoon of black vinegar. Windy? Have a bite of ginger. Nasty complexion? Treat yourself to some dried scallops. I could go on. Sesame oil promotes blood circulation. Fish enriches milk glands. Squid will improve mental energy.

In short, food delivers. It’s an idea most Chinese have taken to heart and they are quite vocal about it. Taxi drivers driving me to my pre-natal check-ups swore by bean curd for a baby’s smooth complexion. One restaurateur warned me away from crab, saying my baby would be born too mischievous. And the teacher at my daughter’s Singaporean nursery declared that an expectant mother should always eat what she craves otherwise her baby would never stop drooling.

So after the first dissatisfied yowl from Ben shook our apartment block, my Chinese neighbors were ready. They gathered around me at our communal playground to peer down at my son’s pinched face. They shook their heads and told me exactly what to eat. Stewed fish maw, they said. Stewed hairy marrow, kidneys stir-fried with wood fungus, pig’s trotters with ginger and vinegar. I see, I said and dashed home to my diet of peanut butter, cheddar cheese and gallons of ice cream. Motherhood had made me do a lot of things I’d never in my most horrific dreams seen myself doing–like giving birth for example–but it was not going to make me eat trotters, pigs’ or otherwise.
Plus, I didn’t believe a word of it.

My neighbors were insistent. One arrived at my doorstep with a bowl of pig trotters floating in a clear soup studded with small red dates. Eat, she urged. Oh, yes, soon, I murmured and placed the gift far in the back of my refrigerator.

Finally, Elena, my Filipina maid (yes, I know, I just lost the sympathy vote, but I don’t have her now. I’m back in London and do my own laundry, cooking, cleaning and baby bottom wiping, thank you very much,) unable to watch my poor child’s distress, decided to cook me a milk producing soup from her village; chicken with green papaya. Her mother drank it and practically drowned her children. “Of course, she had big breasts,” Elena remarked staring at mine, unimpressed.

She went off to shop and returned with arms filled with green papaya and bunches of pepper leaves. She simmered and sprinkled like a witch and then sat me down with a firm “eat.” It tasted rather bland but felt warmly nourishing. I downed two bowls full and sat back skeptically.

The next morning was complete and glorious havoc. My breasts ballooned and opened like taps. They leaked everywhere. My baby gulped and dribbled and then fell back, rolling his eyes upward in ecstasy. I drank that soup on and off for the next four months and never again had any trouble. I ended up breastfeeding for fourteen months. It almost makes me wish I had tried the pig trotters sooner.

Almost.

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Writing Animal

By Spud

By Spud

There’s a thing my dear children do on weekends that drives me nuts. They get up about 20 minutes apart. The first one gets up and I’m all hugs and snuggles, holding hands, asking What would you like for breakfast. Tell me how you slept. Are you warm enough. I’ll get your slippers. And then, Yes, of course you can watch TV.

And then just when the TV flicks on, the other stumbles out of her room, yawning, rubbing her eyes with her fists but she have missed the gravy train. My momself has disappeared, replaced by an insecure writer with not enough material. The poor second riser gets the dregs: Get your own breakfast and don’t make a mess, I’ll be in my office.

It sounds grand my office, doesn’t it? And yes it is a small room with a desk and a chair. It also contains our old suitcases, wrapping paper, boxes from all the appliances which for some reason my husband is loath to throw out, disused toys… In fact everything we don’t know what to do with ends up in my office. But it’s a step up from our old place where my desk was in the baby’s room. So cosy I didn’t have to get up from my desk to breastfeed. I just swiveled around in my chair to face the cot, lifted and clamped on.

My friends remind me what an animal I was with my first books, rising at 5 am to get some writing done before the kids woke up. I’m lazier now. I have, in theory, more time to write now that my children are in school but I fritter the time away. I’m not as focused and the books seem to be taking longer than they should. I should get up early again. Early enough so that my self censor isn’t awake yet and commenting on my lack of progress. It’s when I can write in an almost dreamlike state. By the time I’ve fully woken up my daily quota of 500 to 750 words is down and I can enjoy the rest of the day while my subconscious works on coming up with another 500 to 750 words. I really need to get back to that.

I’m going to start again tomorrow…

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